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Local News

June 23, 2012

Reporter's Notebook: Oneonta Town Board takes tall grass to task

The Oneonta Town Board passed a "tall grass policy" at a meeting this month after the town fielded some complaints, the supervisor said.

The policy addresses concerns about appearance in neighborhoods and safety issues created by grass that may be too tall, Supervisor Robert Wood said. The town won't be passing a law, which would have more enforcement teeth such as allowing the town to mow, he said.

The code enforcement officer won't routinely make notes of unmowed properties, the policy said, and a written complaint from a town resident will be required to initiate an inspection.

Complaints must include the name of the person complaining, the date and nature of the complaint and the address of the property of concern. The code enforcement office will record the complaint and distribute copies to councilmen.

The code enforcement officer or a designee will inspect the noted property and determine if the complaint is valid.

The policy states that because the town is "a very diverse area," criteria to determine a valid complaint include:

"¢ Is the property maintained consistent with neighboring properties?

"¢ Does the tall grass present a hazard by being likely to allow for rodent or other animal infestation?

"¢ Does the tall grass present a hazard to emergency service providers responding to fire or ambulance calls?

"¢ Does the tall grass present a hazard to the structure and public safety by allowing concealment of potential criminal activity?

If one or more of these criteria is met, the code enforcement officer will issue a letter notifying the property owner about the violation of the state property maintenance code and that corrective action is required. The letter will be sent certified mail, return receipt requested, to the listed owner of the property as reflected in the tax roll.

Wood said a property owner so notified may object in writing.

Summer is here, and so is the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, which started June 1. National Hurricane Preparedness Week -- May 27 through June 2 -- has passed, and with great weather recently, it's easy to forget about hurricanes -- and preparing for them.

But remember the impact of hurricanes last year in the four-county area? When reporting on recovery efforts, I contacted Nassau County, which recently forwarded me a release. The tips were timely and useful for residents and pet owners in this area.

Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano suggested assembling a "Go Kit." Kits should be kept by front doors in a duffel bag and have supplies for everyone in the household for five days, including a first aid kit, prescription and nonprescription items and medical information; flashlight and battery-powered radio, a 12-hour glow stick; clothes; important documents in a waterproof container; and special items personal items.

The release also suggested packing a "Pet Go Kit" with pets' names, address and phone number; emergency and veterinarian's contact information; current photographs; data about medical and behavioral problems; a leash; paper towels, newspapers and plastic; food, treats and bottled water; and important documents.

Ron Northrop, a sales technician with Woodstock Safety Mirror Co. in Saugerties, reported local success of its specially designed mirror for school buses.

The firm has installed its safety mirrors on buses in the Gilbertsville-Mount Upton and Stamford central school districts, Northrop said. Within two days of the installation, a GMU driver reported that he had been able to look into the mirror and see pupils in an area near the rear tires that previously had been a blind spot, he said.

Woodstock Safety Mirror Co. Inc. was founded in 1999 by Gloria M. Buley, a New York State school bus driver. She was determined to expose the "danger zone" of a bus, the company website said, and she designed a stop sign mirror unit for the right side of the bus.

The mirror device also provides an additional stop sign to warn motorists not to pass on the right.

The initial price of the mirror device was $995, a School Bus Fleet article from last year said.

Denise Richardson can be reached at 432-1000 or (800) 721-1000, ext. 213, or at drichardson@thedailystar.com.

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